Forward Ammunition Depot, (7 FOD) KL Malaya in 1957
Written by Brian Denis Wood
The One-Legged Hitch-Hiker
Malaya 1957, and our unit (7FOD), situated outside KL, next to 22SAS is a strange little place. With 2-3 dozen Brits and Malay OR’s, we supplied ammo and other essentials to various units on the Malay Peninsula.
I used to do armed ammo escort duties, which entailed loading ammo and related items onto railway goods wagons and delivering same accompanied by a small infantry detachment (usually an NCO and about 6 OR’s). I would nominally be in charge and the escort boys could be from one of many units operating within The 28th Commonwealth Brigade
These runs could take up to 5 days sometimes; what with being shunted off the single-track line into goods yards to dispense our load. I enjoyed the company of units including Ghurkhas. Aussies, Kiwis, Indian, Rhodesian, and some of the finest from Scotland, Wales, and England.
Into our camp one day came a one-legged Brit on crutches. This guy (from Manchester/Bolton or somewhere thereabouts) was on the return leg (no pun intended) of a round-the-world hitch-hiking adventure and was making his way north. He stayed a few days until I was due to make a journey north up to the Thai border. I arranged to “smuggle” him onto the train and help him on his way.
Our wagon/s were always hitched to the rear of the train........I guess for safety reasons; away from sparks from the engine, and maybe not to be too obvious or alarming to the train’s passengers. We always left late at night.
Leaving a guard looking after our precious cargo, I took our one-legged civvy friend into KL town for a few scoops before departure. On return to the goods yard we found the gates locked, but without a second thought this guy throws his crutches through the gates and is up and over the 12 foot or so of spike-topped railings, shaming me into following (rifle, bandolier, jungle-boots et al). Anyway, we safely made it and got on our way. I think I eventually got him to Butterworth, near the Thai border.
I took many photos of this guy at various stages of this trip, but to my eternal shame I lost the lot on a subsequent escort job to Singapore.......time on my hands....too much to drink, and got my camera stolen. I hasten to add that at the time I was off duty and had deposited my rifle and personal ammo in a police station for safe-keeping before imbibing.
I have been checking ex-service sites for a few years and have never found anyone from my old unit....can’t all be dead or non computer-literate can they? Maybe this little blast from the past will jog a few memories.....maybe someone knows or remembers this guy from his home town.
I’m happy to be contacted if this means anything to anybody.
Brian (scouse) Wood.